The Science Citation Index (SCI) first became commercially available in 1964 as a five-volume print edition of indexed scientific work. Dr. Eugene Garfield’s unique way of making connections between scientific research proved to be just the beginning of the vast world of research discovery and analytics with Thomson Reuters Web of Science™. Fifty years later, Garfield’s foundational work for the Web of Science continues to play an integral part of the evolution of search.

We were the first to offer you carefully curated content with cover-to-cover indexing of the most relevant scholarly research in every discipline. And as search and discovery continues to evolve, we’re evolving right along with you. Now, with 50 years of cumulative expertise and continuous innovation, Thomson Reuters Web of Science offers you:

  • Comprehensive and relevant coverage from over 100 years of research that is fully indexed and searchable
  • Access to full text and links directly into the Web of Science through Google Scholar
  • Cited reference search to track prior research and monitor current developments
  • The ability to identify hidden patterns, gaining insight into emerging research trends
  • Cover-to-cover indexing with objective evaluation processes to meet the highest standards
  • A seven-language interface and research data from regional and international publishers

With the backing of Thomson Reuters, you know you’re getting the most carefully curated, comprehensive coverage, with the entire evolution of search at your fingertips.



Watch Dr. Eugene Garfield, founder of Science Citation Index and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), now Thomson Reuters, talk about the origin of SCI and its evolution since 1964.

The first and the best

Check out these vintage — and still relevant — video instructions for how to use SCI. Informative, and classically appropriate, and recorded by Dr. Garfield himself!

Dr. Garfield video1

Dr. Garfield video2

Dr. Garfield video3

David Pendlebury


Listen to Citation Analyst David Pendlebury talk about the impact of citation data over the past 50 years and how he envisions research to evolve with holographic displays!

Listen to the podcast

Chris Burghardt


Hear Product & Marketing Strategy Vice President Chris Burghardt discuss how Thomson Reuters is continuing to evolve with recent enhancements, like our collaboration with Google Scholar, to remain the leading research tool.

Listen to the podcast


See how published authors and longtime users of the Web of Science, Dana Roth and Peter Jacso, used the Web of Science over the years to facilitate and enhance their research efforts.




First concept of citation indexing sparked by Current Contents




The Institute for Scientific Information (now Thomson Reuters) is launched.

timeline top




Eugene Garfield and associates tested the viability and efficiency of citation indexing.

  • Garfield, et al developed two test projects that would determine the viability and efficiency of citation indexing. The first project involved the creation of a database that would index the citations of 5,000 chemical patents held by two private pharmaceutical companies. Based on this investigation and analysis, it was determined that citation indexing permitted the retrieval of relevant literature across arbitrary classifications in a way that subject- oriented indexing could not.
  • A second pilot project in 1962 involved the Institute for Scientific Information and the United States National Institutes of Health in building an index to the published literature on genetics. While this project was to test the feasibility and utility of a narrow, discipline-oriented citation index, at completion, it was concluded that the database with the most broadly based set of source publications formed the most comprehensive and useful guide to the published literature in the field of genetics.

timeline top



Nobel Laureate Joshua Lederberg used citation indexing in his field of genetics: “The power of the idea and the utility of its implementation could not be denied."

timeline top




Original Science Citation Index (SCI) is made commercially available to the research community.

  • Published in five printed volumes.
  • Divided into two author-based parts: the Source Author Index and the Citation Index.
  • By extension, institution, country of publishing and how often the paper is cited.

Garfield and colleagues Irving H. Sher and Richard J. Torpie produced his first historiograph, a linear mapping through time of influences and dependencies, illustrated by citation links, concerning the discovery of DNA and its structure. A historiograph makes it easier to see and understand a subject's key publication events, the chronology and relative influence.

timeline top




Dr. Garfield proposes the first metric that measures the impact of a journal.

  • A novel yet simple method allows one to compare large journals (Nature, Science, JAMA) with smaller specialty journals (Annual Reviews) that may not be noted if only total publication or citation counts were considered.
  • This metric would later become known as the “journal impact factor” and is still the most widely used and trusted metric to measure journal impact. Journal impact factor has become the de facto industry standard.

timeline top




First official launch of SCI Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

  • A statistical summation of the Journal Citation Index, a result of re-sorting the Author Citation Index. Instead of alphabetizing by author name, files were sorted by journal title.
  • JCR today includes every citation that appears in the more than 12,000 journal titles that it covers and has expanded to include both impact and influence metrics. In 2014, the Journal Citation Reports will be available on the next generation InCites™ platform, allowing users to explore the underlying data, conduct trend analysis overtime, customize and visualize journal networks and more.

timeline top



Garfield launched the Arts & Humanities Index. Fully indexed 1,700 arts & humanities journals, as well as selected items from over 250 scientific & social sciences journals.

timeline top




SCI became available on CD-ROM

timeline top




SCI is incorporated into the newly launched Web of Science™ Core Collection

  • Today the Web of Science Core Collection covers more than 12,000 international journals representing the main fields of science, the social sciences, and the arts and humanities, with additional coverage of scholarly books and conference proceedings.

timeline top




A new platform, ISI Web of Knowledge launched with Web of Science as one of its four anchor databases to enable researchers to seach across a variety of content types and subject areas from within a single platform. Other key content included Derwent Innovations Index, ISI ProceedingsSM, and BIOSIS Previews. ISI Web of Knowledge subscribers could now search, analyze, and manage their research information through one resource — conducting cross-content searching, navigating to a variety of Web sites through Current Contents eSearchSM, and accessing Essential Science IndicatorsSM and other scholarly resources.

timeline top




Over 100 years in the making, Century of Science was established. This dramatic expansion of coverage delivered access to important scientific literature from 850,000 journal articles from over 200 journals published between 1900-1944. Users could now access over 100 years of research consistently indexed and fully cross-searchable.

timeline top




The Chinese Science Citation Database is the first regional citation database to launch on the Web of Knowledge platform. Developed in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Science, the CSCD contains important research and citation data from China, including research trends, top authors, institutions, journal and more. InCites, a new tool for research analytics, is launched. Aggregating and unifying data from the Web of Science, InCites allows organizations to create standard or customized reports to evaluate their own research performance and compare their impact to peers from around the world with the most reliable bibliometric data available.

timeline top



The Book Citation Index (BKCI) was launched on the Web of Science Core Collection, connecting a library’s book collection to powerful new discovery tools. The first of its kind, the BKCI provides researchers the ability to quickly and easily identify and access the most relevant books and see how that content fits within the broader citation connections of its subject.

timeline top




The Data Citation Index (DCI) was launched on the Web of Science. Another first, DCI was built in close partnership with key data repositories around the world to connect digital research to powerful new discovery tools, giving researchers the ability to quickly and easily identify and access the most relevant digital research. DCI incorporates data deposited in established, curated data repositories from around the World with multidisciplinary coverage across social sciences, physical sciences, life sciences and arts and humanities.

timeline top



Users could now make connections to the broader research landscape with the addition of the SciELO Citation Index. This database gives a more complete picture by discovering new insights from research in Latin America, Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean and South Africa. This represents Thomson Reuters ongoing commitment to increasing the discoverability of regionally influential research and connecting it back to the global scholarly community..

timeline top



As part of keeping pace with the evolution of research discovery, content and metrics come together in a meaningful and accessible way with the launch of the next generation of Web of Science and InCites.

The next generation Web of Science provides users with a better research tool with a clean new interface that delivers a more intuitive user experience. It also enables easier research discovery thanks to a new collaboration with Google Scholar that facilitates the seamless movement between the open web to the Web of Science™ and its trusted content through citations. The addition of SciELO and the upcoming launch of the KCI Korean Journal Database as well as continuously expanding DCI and BKCI provides users with the most comprehensive citation content available today.

The next generation InCites makes it even easier for users to understand an organization’s research performance and impact on a global scale. With intuitive reporting capabilities that deliver sophisticated research intelligence and highly configurable, visually compelling dashboards and reports, the new InCites that helps organizations quantify the research impact of their people, programs and peers.

And integration between the new InCites and Web of Science embeds analytics from InCites, including ESI and JCR, directly within the search experience in Web of Science offering searchers at any level a guided, analytics-based search experience to more quickly and easily pinpoint the right content.

timeline top